Lonely no longer – Officer Tristan Kiekel helps Yale Alum

November 13, 2019

Charlie Johnston needed help and Yale Police Officer Tristan Kiekel stepped in to assist. Tristan met Charlie about 3 years ago, he lives locally and is a Yale Alum–Jonathan Edwards (JE) class of 1964. Over the years, Tristan has helped walk his two dogs, shared pizza dinners, and checked on him weekly. At 78, he has no living family members, he lives alone and is often lonely, but thanks to Officer Kiekel, he is not as lonely anymore.
JE alumni with Charlie J. his dog and Officer Kiekel Officer Melendez, Charlie Johnston, his dog Nell, and Officer Tristan Kiekel

Recently, he and his dogs had some health issues and again Tristan was there to help him.  She voluntarily took him to doctor appointments. One dog Nell a Shiba Inu needed surgery, so she found a vet Dr. Padilla at the West Haven Animal Clinic that would do the surgery and get paid after she fundraised the $2,300 to cover the vet bills. Officer Ariel Melendez also helped by bringing Charlie and his dog to the vet. The dog is doing well and so far $1,200 has been raised for the vet bills through a gofundme campaign. “I wanted to help him, he’s alone and has no one. I can’t imagine being 78 years old and having to take a bus home after surgery,” said Tristan.

I wanted to help him, he’s alone and has no one. I can’t imagine being 78 years old and having to take a bus home after surgery. Tristan Kiekel

Tristan didn’t stop there, she recently helped Charlie by reaching out to JE alum Terry Holcombe for more help. Terry and his wife run a program called Sunrise Cafe that serves breakfast for those in need. They serve about 35,000 meals a year. It is located in the basement of St. Paul & St. James Church, 57 Olive Street, New Haven.

But the biggest assist has been the 15 JE classmates and 20 YPD officers who have either met or reached out to Charlie. “Charlie plays the violin beautifully and really longs for company,” said Tristan.

For Thanksgiving this year, Charlie will be treated to a Turkey dinner and trimmings from the Yale Police Department’s food drive run by Officer Martin Parker. Now, thanks to Tristan’s assistance, Charlie regularly attends Sunrise Cafe breakfasts. Also Terry reached out to many JE alumni from the class of 1964 who plan to visit with Charlie or take him out to lunch. Charlie is no longer lonely because someone took that extra step of helping a stranger in need.  “I have built a beautiful relationship with Charlie and many other JE alumns,” said Tristan.

Big thanks and hugs to Officer Tristan Kiekel for being an amazing human being and helping another human being in need.